Story of Distance 261

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The Story of Distance 261

 “I’m going to finish this race on my hands and my knees if I have to, because nobody believes that I can do this” – Katherine Switzer

Katherine Switzer was the first woman to officially enter The Boston Marathon.

In 1967 women were not formally banned from entering, but it had been an all-male event for seventy years.  At the time, women’s long distance running wasn’t treated as legitimate sport. It was considered unladylike and too strenuous.  

Katherine registered using her initials, so that officials would assume she was a man. When she began the race, her presence immediately attracted the attention of photographers and the press.

A race director, Jock Semple, angrily gave chase and tried to rip off Katherine’s number, Number 261. His attempt to stop her only made Katherine more determined to cross the finish line.

Due to her pioneering efforts, women were officially allowed to enter The Boston Marathon in 1972. Katherine went on to be a driving force behind the inclusion of the women’s marathon in the Olympics. She later reconciled with Jock Semple and he became a staunch advocate for women in running.

Our running hat is named in recognition of Switzer’s lasting contribution to sport and equality.

This is Distance 261

 

Gold Oliverio